Elmwood Minutes, October 2015


Elmwood Minutes, 10/5/15
Larry called the meeting to order, his voice echoing in the cavernous new theater space! Thanks to Dolores & Bob Hodesblatt and Carol Napier for providing hospitality tonight in celebration of Bob’s birthday; Bob was serenaded in Elmwood style.
The minutes of the September meeting were read at a volume acceptable to most members present and accepted as written.
Kandi Rosenbaum offered to sell 50/50.

Treasurer’s Report: Derek warned us that this month’s report was a bit complicated… We’ve paid our contractor $134,800 to date, expect an additional $80,000. $30,000 of the $80,000 is coming from the 0% interest bridge loan, and the other $50,000 is coming from our Portfolio Loan Account (a loan against the holdings in our Morgan Stanley account).
Acct. 1 – $41,975.04
Acct. 2 – $741.56
Morgan Stanley Investment – $286,160.59
The Portfolio Loan Account balance is $140,452.09, which is a debt against the Morgan Stanley Investment balance.
And our mortgage balance is $382,882.96
To lower our debt, we’re planning on selling some of our securities in the Morgan Stanley account.
Omar set up a new e-mail address to contact the Tarson’s – Treasurer@Elmwoodplayhouse.com.

Franci recited a poem she wrote in celebration of her 90th birthday, and another chorus of Happy Birthday was sung – practice makes perfect!

Jim Lugo discussed the Morgan Stanley investment account – we held our own in September; growth had been up to about $50,000, is now back down to about $30,000. As we enter the last quarter of the year, it’s a good time to remind anyone who would be interested in making a donation to the arts that this should be done before 12/31. He also discussed the Legacy Society – if you don’t tell us you’ll be leaving us money, we won’t know til you’re gone; if you do tell us… well, we probably won’t kill you to get it faster!

Benefits: No new benefits booked. Sandy Stead met with Marian and Alan to come up with new ideas for organizations we can contact; please let them know if you know of any who might be interested in booking a benefit. We’re looking to increase our data base. It was suggested that the Tappan Library may have a list of all local non-profits.

Workshops: Tonight, Candy Pittari will be directing a condensed version of Act 2 of Speed of Darkness. This will be a directorial audition for Candy; she thanked her team for their help. There will be a Q&A after the workshop, led by Bernie Garzia.
In November, Kate Farren will present three new pieces of reader’s theater; she announced her cast and her quest to locate 9 matching stools.
December – the improv workshop participants are rehearsing twice a week; new member Maxine Bernstein is part of the troupe.
In January, Kathy Gnazzo is presenting a staged reading to commemorate the 50th anniversary of our entry into the Vietnam war, and the 40th anniversary of our exit from the war. She’s putting together a script combining excerpts from The Things They Carried with non-fiction about Vietnam.
Michael Edan will do something in February – definitely something!
Barbara Murphy will produce Salt and Pepper in March, directed by Peter DeMayo (?)
Thanks to Omar & Jennie, each workshop will have its own page on the website.

New Faces: Deb Ivry said hi, she’ll be performing here with High Five at our next Sundays @ Seven on 10/11. She described their music as 4-part theatrical jazz, a la Manhattan Transfer, and said they are working on doing a Beatles show. She introduced Margaret, the new soprano with the group. They’re proud to be the first group to be performing in the newly renovated theater space.

Play Selection: Tiffany announced there is a change in how the select ion process will take place… plays are not attached to directors; if a play is suggested by a potential director but they cannot direct it in a slot the committee determines would be best, the Committee can suggest it to another director. It’s all about selecting a season that’s best for the theater. Dates for interviews with qualified directors are being set now.

Major Productions:
Broadway Bound opened 9/25, congratulations to director Kathy Gnazzo and her gang for pulling it all together in spite of the renovations. Kathy sent out many thanks to the folks who made sure the theater was ready to go for opening night, including the people who came in to clean up the clutter of progress by wiping down chairs, vacuuming and making things all bright and shiny for our audiences. We had our first half-house benefit on the first Saturday of the run and it appeared to be a success. Strike will be here before we know it on 10/18, please come on down and help out!

Good People: Bobbi says she has an extraordinary cast and a great show, and encouraged all to come see it; runs 11/20 – 12/12.

Harvey: Margaret reminded all that auditions will be October 13, 14 & 15; need 6 women and 5 men, but some gender switching may be done.

Sundays @ 7: On December 6, TWD will be performing. Tanya Garzia is the lead singer of this fun, 8-ish piece party band; come on down and dance in the aisles! What DOES TWD stand for?? You tell us – There will be a prize for the most creative interpretation of the band’s name.

Street Fair: Nancy thanked everyone who braved the massive crowds and helped out at the booth. It was a mostly beautiful day and we had many visitors stop to chat, get information about the theater and our new season, and take a free raffle to win tickets to preview performances.

Website: Jennie was thanked for her years of service and work on the website. She’s been handing the reins over to Omar. Jennie claimed her only contribution to the new website has consisted of e-mailing Omar 12 times a day – this is how Omar spent his summer. Make sure you tell your friends to Like us on Facebook. A reminder to NOT check “members only” when posting most info on the website, we want the world to know what’s happening at Elmwood! Bridget said that even though navigating the new site may be a little confusing for members, since things aren’t always where they used to be, the outside world loves our new website!

Halloween Parade: Unfortunately, due to lack of a vehicle and astronomical insurance requirements, Duncan reports we won’t have a float this year. Maybe next year we can come up with a member-powered cart? Duncan will be walking in the parade in costume and invited others to join him on Saturday, 10/24.

Light the Night and ChocolateFest: Elmwood’s team, the Bee-Lievers, raised about $6,000 to help support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s research to find a cure. Thanks to everyone who came out to walk or stopped by ChocolateFest to enjoy guilt-free charity chocolate.

Renovations: The theater is now about 8 feet longer, Phase 2 is mostly done! Audiences have been loving the new seat configuration, which is still flexible enough that we can do shows in the round. There’s a new sloped sidewalk that leads to the interior side door; it’s not an official handicapped access entry but we had three patrons in wheel chairs here yesterday and it worked well. We’re looking into the possibility of not installing the lift that was previously discussed, maybe create better access from the new New Street entrance? The exterior renovation is still being worked on, and Jim Guarasci is heading a committee to plan landscaping, working with David Julin and others. Currently there’s talk of selling pavers as a fundraiser, and there will be planters and other green areas. Franci says she loves having the benches by the sidewalk while waiting for her ride home.
There was much “invisible” work done to the electrical system; turns out much of the lighting was not up to current code and had to be corrected. Everything is now safe and beautiful in the spacious new loft – we’re so proud of the members who stepped up and, working alongside the contractors, made all these wonderful changes possible!

Life Membership: We hope to hold our next Elmwood Prom in 2016, and are currently looking for nominations for Life Members to be honored. Speaking on behalf of the Life Membership Selection Committee (Alan Demovsky, Nancy Logan, Evelyn Russo, Mark Rinis and Mike Gnazzo), Mike distributed a proposed by-law amendment regarding changes to the method of selecting future Life Members. A copy of the proposal is attached to the minutes and will be posted on the Elmwood website He explained that currently, the Board selects a committee made up of former Life Members to determine who meets the criteria to be considered for new Life Members. The Board then receives the Committee’s recommendations and selects one or more Life Members. Because several members of the Board are eligible for selection for Life Membership, the Committee has suggested that the procedure be changed – the Board would still select a Committee of five Life Members, but the Committee will select new Life Members without further input from the Board. This proposal was read tonight, will be read again at the November and December membership meetings, and will then be voted on at the December meeting, where it must be approved by 2/3 of the members present at that meeting. The proposal also must appear in writing a least a month before the vote. This proposal for a change in the by-laws is coming from members of the theater, not from the Board.

New Business: Lisa Spielman will be performing at the Red Monkey Theater.
Jenn Vogel is working on her thesis, could use the input of teachers. Jenn also shared that her friend, Christina Bianco, is being produced on Broadway in The Rise and Fall of Little Voice. Christina performed here at Elmwood in a fundraiser for RYDE about 6 months ago and wowed the audience.
You may notice the shiny tape on the floor, which covers a flat copper wire, which is the antenna for the new Loop system. The rest of the installation will take place after Broadway Bound closes. Thanks to John Gray and Larry Marino for their work on this project, and to Alan Demovsky for his generous underwriting of the system.
Marian mentioned that the folks at the Esplanade, where some Elmwood members are living, are interested in doing a theater program with their residents. Contact info is on our website and will be in next week’s blast. Barbara Sandek said that Tappan Zee Manor was also interested, may be doing a reading.
We are happy to welcome Shelagh back!
Stavros will be appearing in Bill W and Dr. Bob at Shades Rep the first week of November.
Seth will also be on the Shade’s stage Thursday & Friday in Death of King.
Bridget and Jenn graciously offered to do hospitality for the November meeting.

A motion was made and seconded to adjourn.

Respectfully submitted,

Debbi Fleckenstein

We propose the following as an amendment to the Elmwood By-Laws.

The way it reads now:

2. Classes of Memberships and Admission Requirements
a) Student – Any person age 18 or… (remains the same)
b) Regular – Any person 18 years or older is eligible… (remains the same)
c) Life – Any person who has served 10 years as a regular member in good standing, and who has demonstrated service to the organization above and beyond the minimum requirements for regular membership may be awarded life membership at the discretion of the Board of Directors.
d) Honorary… (remains the same) e) The Board may… (remains the same)


2. Classes of Memberships and Admission Requirements
a) Student – Any person age 18 or under may become a student member with the written consent of parents or legal guardians. Any full-time student between the ages of 18 and 22 may choose either Student or Regular membership. …(remains the same)
b) Regular – Any person 18 years or older is eligible. …(remains the same)
c) Life – Any person who has served 10 years as a regular member in good standing, and who has demonstrated service to the organization above and beyond the minimum requirements for regular membership may be awarded life membership.
1) The award of Life Membership to be chosen by a committee of previously awarded Life Members. This committee is to be appointed by the Elmwood Board of Directors. The committee is to consist of 5 Life Members. Each of the 5 Life Member committee members shall not be appointed by the Board of Directors more than 2 consecutive times.
d) Honorary …(remains the same)

e) The Board may, …(remains the same)

REASONING: Right now the Board chooses the new Life Member. We would like to see the current Life Members choose the new Life Member(s). We think that since this choice does not affect the season or income to Elmwood, and it’s just an award among ourselves, it would be fine to have the people already chosen as Life Members to simply choose the incoming member(s).

The reasoning of the current Life Member 5 person panel is to make sure that the voting is transparent, in view of the fact that many proposed Life Members may be a part of the Board of Directors.

At the year that the Board thinks we should award a new Life Member, they would choose a committee of 5 already awarded Life Members to choose the ones to be newly awarded. Those Life Members on the committee would only be allowed to be chosen 2 times in a row, so it wouldn’t appear to be that they ALWAYS vote for the incoming Life Member. They can be a choosing committee member after that also, but not for more than 2 times in a row.

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